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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 11-June-2010, Vol 123 No 1316

[full text] [PDF]

How to achieve New Zealandís shorter stays in emergency departments health target
Mike Ardagh


The new shorter stays in the emergency department (ED) health target is an expression of the need for solutions to problems with acute health care in New Zealand. Long stays in the ED, and consequent ED overcrowding, result from the accumulation of contributions from throughout the acute care system, and are associated with bad patient experiences and bad patient outcomes. However, if pursued inappropriately, the shorter stays in the ED health target might be achieved without improving patient experiences or outcomes. In New Zealand, we have the opportunity for this target to drive genuine improvements in quality of care. To do this requires understanding, structure and planning, reflecting a commitment to whole of system reform.

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